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Common law

If your client is convicted at trial, you turn to mitigating factors or hope for an impressive character witness. You can't do much better than a blubbing boss

By Alex McBride   May 2006

The game’s up. Your client has just been convicted at trial or done the decent thing and pleaded guilty. You stand up and apologise on his behalf. This is known as mitigation. There are set mitigating factors that will automatically reduce a sentence, like never having been convicted before, or pleading guilty at the first available opportunity. You work with the material you get: a junkie shoplifter with four packs of Lidl’s frozen chicken down the front of his trousers and 45 previous convictions is heading only one way. Clarence knew he was getting a “bird”—slang for a prison sentence.…

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